Maryland Fire Departments Seeing Less Recruitment?

( – Maryland firefighters are facing a recruitment shortage, which could potentially make fire departments short-staffed in Maryland.

According to the Baltimore Banner, across 45 different stations in Maryland, the number of firefighters has dropped to fewer than 1,000. Before the pandemic, the same area could see 3,000 to 5,000 new applicants.

Dominic Butchko, the Maryland Association of Counties Assistant Director said, “Today, we’re fine, but in five, 10, 15 years, if recruitments are still not coming in at the level we need, and retirements are continuing at pace, we’ll be in trouble.”

There are a few reasons that this might be happening and one of them is the competition that firefighters have when it comes to pay. Many younger people are looking for higher-paying work-from-home jobs instead of firefighting.

Kirk Spencer, a firefighter recruiter said, “We compete with travel jobs, IT, work from home: COVID exposed that, all day. This is: show up, get your hands dirty. It’s cold, it’s hot and hard all the time.”

Still, many people believe the reason for this is that the younger generations, which would normally take these jobs, have less passion for being a firefighter or making a change. A human resources manager for the fire department spoke out saying “It is a different applicant. People aren’t answering the phone. People aren’t coming dressed appropriately for the written test. Basic things.”

Other experts have said that now is the time to start coming up with some creative practices in order to attract new workers to become firefighters and take part in this particular workforce.

This has been hard for the remaining firefighters who are still working through staff shortages; many firefighters are already taking on too much, and it will get worse as numbers continue to drop.

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